The work to prepare for such an event starts months in advance. The representatives from each of the ten counties gather to plan, fundraise and promote the Northwest Iowa Showdown starting in the fall, keeping in touch through email and phone conversations throughout the entire year. It takes an army of volunteers and sponsors to put on an event like this. They roll out the red carpet on the day of the show, or in this case the blue chips, and the rest is up to the exhibitors! The event is open to the public so plan on watching this great show next year!
Each respective fair in Northwest Iowa sent their champions to the Clay County Event Center on August 3, to compete against the best. For the second year, the Northwest Iowa Showdown, a division of the All-Iowa Showdown, gathered the Grand Champion Market and Breeding animal in each category of Beef, Swine, Sheep and Goat.
The day starts with each exhibitor that has qualified for the event bringing their animal to be checked in and make sure that all paperwork matches the exhibitor to the animal.
With the Clay County Fair coming after this event, there is a qualifying show for those exhibitors before the showdown starts. Out of those exhibitors, a champion for each species is chosen to come back and compete at the showdown.
With an introduction of exhibitors, by county, to the crowd and the National Anthem being sung, the showdown begins!
Starting with breeding animals, the exhibitors enter the ring with their goats. The exhibitors have filled out a sheet of paper asking their name, where they go to school, animal's name and any future plans for them or their animal. The announcer shares all of this information with the crowd when they walk into the ring—making the event very special for those participating! The judge speaks with all of the exhibitors, asking about their project and the hard work that they have put in to get to this point. The exhibitors walk their animals in a circle for the judge to look at. He grabs the microphone to talk about the animals to the crowd and selects his winner.
They are awarded many prizes, thanks to the generous sponsors of the event. The champion then gets to have their photo taken at the backdrop. This process goes on for each of the species, along with when the show switches over to the market animals, going in the same order: goats, sheep, hogs and finally cattle.
With their win, the exhibitor and animal get to compete at the All-Iowa Showdown. This is where all of the regional champions gather to see who is the best of them all. Some say that the competition at the All-Iowa Showdown is greater than the competition seen at the Iowa State Fair!
Not only is this event a great way to support the different animal industries, it is a great way for youth to get to participate and show their skills off to a larger crowd. Youth that are involved in animal agriculture have a great attitude, they learn the value of hard work, dedication, and caring for their animal. An event like this gives families and youth a chance to win something more, such as prizes, and to have the honor to represent their county in front of hundreds of people across Northwest Iowa. It teaches these kids to be competitive, but also teaches them to be humble and meet new friends that have similar interests that will more than likely give them lifelong friendships and even new connections for a future job or career choice.